Vikrant Massey in a sill from ‘Cargo’
It is year 2027, Vikrant Massey is Prahastha, a homo-demon who receives dead people referred to as Cargo? in his space ship 634A. Prahastha is an ultra-modern take on mythical Yamraj, the harbinger of death – with a subtlest of reference on his coffee cup – a bull, the preferred vehicle of the Lord of Death.
His job for years has been the same where he acts to receive, heals them with his tacky contraption of a device and then erases every bit of the subjects memory only to be then sent back again to life from where they arrived. The motto of IPSO (Inter Planetary Space Organization) is Let us make afterlife better.
Prashatha is an epitome of loneliness and aloofness; nothing ever moves him. He goes through his tasks like a humanoid in a very non-chalant way. The only connect he has with the world down there is Nitigya (Nandu Madhav), who is a man made up of more pixels and sound bites than flesh and blood. He is 634As bridge to the planet earth.
Enter Yuvishka Shekhar (ShwetaTripathi), a college topper with a sprightly and spirited attitude towards both personal and professional life. She is exact opposite of Prahastha – he is dull and dreary, she is dandy and dramatic; he is monotonous and mechanical, she is lively and emotional; he is unsocial and avoids internet, she is affable and has foot prints all over web; he avoids company, she looks for one.
She goes about her task of doing the same routine, which he went through, in a more involved and invested ways. She possesses the special gift of healing? people of their aches, pains, agony and injury. She unearths the letters-written-but-never-sent and forcefully establishes the connect between Prahastha and her erstwhile non-recipient of those unsent mails, Mandakini – played by Konkana Sen Sharma in a cameo and in her usual fine fettle.
Vikrant Massey and Shweta Tiwari are a hoot, but somehow the characters are not well-done, they are like Nitigyas super power, he can vanish and go invisible 87% of himself. Their characters are cast in the same mold where they lack the nerves and sinews to move and some certain percentage of their character always stays uncooked and underdeveloped.
The movie is made with limited budget and it shows in the way – the whole sci-fi ultra-modern spaceship and its attendant consoles and monitors are depicted. It looks a deliberate attempt to showcase the frugal Shaktimanseque? tacky sets. But this never jars the rhyme and rhythm of the narrative – it plays strongly and the message is driven home in more ways than one.
It questions our daily grind for more, it puts us humans in race with demons, whom we keep dissing but in the end the lines gets blurred and the humans end up playing demons and demons deals disarmingly with dead. It interrogates us mankind and demands answers to our very own existential purpose.
Cargo is an honest attempt to unravel the futility and finality of fatal human existence; it uses death as a metaphor to hammer home the point. We are in a never ending karmic cycle of materialistic and emotional attachments; there is sly underhand humor at play. The pace is slow and steady; few set pieces do not fit in and could have been sacrificed at editing table.
Take twenty minutes of it and it goes terse and taut. The work is highly contextual in this pandemic scenario where what we are doing and why is being asked from every nook and corner. No, it neither answers any of these nor makes an attempt to do so, but it raises right questions and issues humankind needs to ponder.
Permanence is one such riddle that it throws up. The movie could have been more gripping and engrossing but for the sedating sideshows, which never add to anything other than the ordeal and length. All said, Cargo is not that agile and moves in varying pace – at times swift and at times like a snail. However, it reaches where it intends to. Go for it, if you like slow burn cinema that is serene and subtle.
Rating: 3 on 5
To complete my film ‘Emergency’, I mortgaged every single thing I owned: Kangana Ranaut
Kangana Ranaut finished the shoot of her much awaited film ‘Emergency’ recently. But finishing this film wasn’t an easy journey for the actress. She went through a lot of ups and downs while finishing this period drama where she plays former PM, Indira Gandhi.
Talking about all the difficulties she faced to complete the film, Kangana recently said, “Whatever task I take up, I make sure I finish it. But to finish the film, I had to mortgage all my properties, every single thing I owned as I am also banking the film as a producer. Moreover, mortgaging all my property to complete the film wasn’t a big deal. I am someone who makes all my big decisions within minutes. The main struggle was running to banks back-to-back while shooting the film. Somehow, it hampers your work big time.”
Kangana, who made her entry into Bollywood with ‘Gangster’ in 2006, also spoke about her initial days in Bollywood. “When I came to Mumbai, I had only ₹500. So, if I lose all my property after ‘Emergency’ release and I’m completely ruined, it won’t matter much. I am very confident and strong enough to stand up on my feet once again and bounce back. Such possessions hold no meaning for me to be frank,” said Kangana to the paparazzi during the ‘Emergency’ wrap-up party held recently.
Salim Khan was one of those few friends who encouraged me to become a screenwriter: Javed Akhtar
Be it ‘Sholay’, ‘Don’, ‘Zanjeer’ or ‘Deewaar’, Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar have worked together in many such iconic films. And lyricist Javed Akhtar revealed how it was writer Salim who encouraged him to become a screenwriter.
In an interview recently, the lyricist revealed that he wanted to become a director before becoming a writer and a lyricist. Talking about his friendship with Salim Khan, Javed said, “Salim saab was one of those few friends who encouraged me to become a writer. The plus point was I used to live in a room which was close to his home, hence I would visit him often. Had I been living somewhere else, I doubt if I would be able to meet him regularly.”
Adding more about his years-long association with Salim Khan and why they stopped working together, Javed added, “In our struggling days, we were like ‘one team’. We didn’t have any friends, hence we would be together from morning till evening and even work together. Even our dinners would be together, in fact, out of 24 hours, we would be together for at least 15-16 hours a day. But once we tasted success, new people entered our lives and gradually our circle changed. Hence, the rapport we had broke and we couldn’t work together further.”
On the sets of ‘My Name Is Khan’, I couldn’t speak in front of SRK sir: Sidharth Malhotra
Today, Sidharth Malhotra has many fans. But the ‘Student Of The Year’ actor remembers those days when he used to work as an assistant director on Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘My Name Is Khan’. Being an SRK fan, he remembers about his first interaction with his idol.
“I still remember my first day of the shoot on the sets of ‘My Name Is Khan’ in LA. I had rehearsed for the clap so I wouldn’t fumble in front of SRK sir. But he was so warm and sweet, for sure it’s because of his upbringing. He just made everyone around him so comfortable. Trust me, on the first day of the shoot, I couldn’t speak at all in front of SRK sir.”
Sidharth even remembers how while working on one scene, Shah Rukh gave him some acting tips. “We were shooting a scene and only Shah Rukh sir and I were at that location. It was somewhere on a road. And suddenly he started talking to me and said, ‘You know, you should always come first and see if you can use anything on location as a prop’. I was like, ‘It’s just two of us here, who is he talking to?’ But he knew that I wanted to be an actor. He continued telling me, ‘You’ve to see if you can use anything.’ He’s so sharp that he creates many things on the spot. And from then, my respect and my love for him grew even more,” expressed Sidharth who’s seen in ‘Mission Majnu’ currently.